The Whiteman County prosecutor has opened criminal cases against 15 current or former members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at Washington State University following the death of an alcoholic student.
The charges against Wednesday related to the death of 19-year-old WSU teenager Samuel Martinez of Bellevue, Washington.
Martinez died of alcoholism on November 12, 2019, after attending a fraternity party. The Whitman County Coroner has ruled that the incident took place by accident.
Washington State University student Sam Martinez.
The suspects face charges of supplying alcohol on one or more oaths at a fraternity ceremony that was part of the initiation process, said Prosecutor Denis P. Tracy. Giving children alcohol is a serious offense in Washington state punishable by one year in prison and a $ 5,000 fine.
In 2020, Martinez's parents filed an unjust death charge against the university and the Alpha Tau Omega group he promised to join.
The men were not identified by the Whiteman County Prosecutor's Office, but Becky Roe, Martinez's attorney, said the case would be scheduled for March 2022.
“While cases may lead to a degree of accountability, this is not fair. It does not bring us closed, ”Martinez's family said in a statement. "We are very disappointed that no one will be charged with arson in this case."
"Universities and national organizations that promote and benefit in the fields must ultimately face the failure of the young men in their care and the families who care for their sons," the family said.
Organizations have been closely monitored in recent years as more and more cases of alcohol-related injuries and deaths have emerged.
Adam Oakes, 19, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, died of alcohol poisoning in February after a party in Delta Chi, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported. His family suspects his death was due to arson, according to NBC Washington. He passed away after drinking, and when his friends found him face to face on the sofa, half of his face was red, his cousin said.
No charges have been filed in connection with his death.
And in April, eight people were blamed for the death of Stone Foltz, an Ohio college student who died earlier this year after an alleged incident at Bowling Green State University.
A high-profile case was laid against six men for murder and two men for hazing, among other offenses, after Foltz died of alcoholism following an incident involving the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on March 4, according to Wood County prosecutor Paul Dobson.
Foltz's occupants found him unresponsive in their apartment and died at the hospital three days later. The alcohol level in Foltz's blood was .35, more than four times the legal limit, Dobson said.
Pi Kappa Alpha's chapter was expelled from Bowling Green State University in April, and the university said in a statement it would no longer be honored on campus.